As to the software that a law firm might use to carry out a survey project, the list is lengthy. Not that the firm itself needs to have each of the applications that are listed below, but from start to finish someone may need to deploy them.
- Database software for customer relations management (CRM) or some software to provide email addresses of invitees
- Bulk email software (e.g., ConstantContact) so that the firm can effectively invite its clients and others to take part in the survey
- Word processing software to draft questions, invitations and the text of the report
- Survey software (e.g., NoviSurvey, SurveyMonkey, SmartSurvey, Qualtrics, SurveyGizmo) to create an online questions and capture the responses of the participants
- Spreadsheet software (e.g., Excel) so that the firm can export the responses from the survey software into a worksheet and manipulate the data
- Statistical software (e.g., R, Stata, Excel, Tableau) so that an analyst can calculate various statistics
- Data visualization software (e.g., R, Excel or PowerPoint) so that an analyst can prepare plots and graphs
- Desktop publishing (e.g., LaTex, markdown languages, Adobe InDesign) so that the firm can integrate text, plots, tables and other elements into the report
- Presentation software (e.g., PowerPoint) or specialized software to prepare infographs
- Graphical design software (e.g., gimp, PhotoShop) so that the firm can work with images and photos and otherwise design the report as it wishes
- PDF software (e.g., Foxit, Adobe Acrobat, PScript5, ScanSoft, QuarkXPress) so the firm can save its report in a portable document format [see the plot below for more details]
- All kinds of other software are also involved, such as email, instant messaging, social media, website packages, video-conferences, calendaring, backup software and more.
The plot below examined data from 153 survey reports in PDF format. Of the set, 141 include metadata about the software used to create the report. The firms used nine different software packages although over the years they used multiple versions of the same package. Thus, for example, Adobe InDesign — all versions — dominated with more than 100 reports created with it.